In the context of the U.S. empire, I find today’s Gospel frightening because it raises the hard question of whether or not we stand with Jesus.
The fact that he is authentic, that he does reveal the divine through his healing and care for the despised in society, is the very reason the Pharisees and Sadducees question his identity and thereby reveal their rejection of him and intent to destroy him. The Pharisees and Sadducees are out for themselves and heap oppression on all others.
Our context of a U.S. empire is not so different. If we follow the Way of Jesus, we too will find rejection, humiliation, and may anticipate—even expect—the same fate as the poor and despised.
At this very moment people who claim to be Christian are heaping hatred and violence upon the poor, homeless, sick, elderly, people of color, refugees, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender, and Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters. All are targeted for their very identity. Jesus stands with them. With whom and where do we stand?
- How far will we walk with Jesus and the despised of society on the Way of the Cross?
- Are we willing to give our lives for Jesus?
Alex Mikulich is a Catholic social ethicist and racial equity consultant. He is co-author of The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance (Palgrave 2013 and 2015). He co-edited and contributed to Interrupting White Privilege: Catholic Theologians Break the Silence (Orbis 2007) which won the Theological Book of the Year from the College Theology Society.